Viagra To Be Sold Over The Counter At UK Pharmacies To Combat Counterfeit Online Sales

Men suffering from erectile dysfunction will soon be able to purchase Viagra over the counter at a pharmacy, rather than seeing their GP for a prescription.

The Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA) has announced the decision to declassify Viagra Connect (containing sildenafil 50mg) as a prescription only medicine.

The move is intended to make the drug more accessible to men who wish to use it in a safe way, to combat the number of counterfeit erectile dysfunction pills being sold illegally online.

Over the past five years, investigators from MHRA have seized more than £50 million of unlicensed and counterfeit erectile dysfunction medicines.

Manufacturer of Viagra Connect, Pfizer, hopes to get the pills into pharmacies by spring 2018.

The MHRA announced the change after conducting a review of the safety of the Viagra Connect and concluding it is suitable to be old over the counter.

The drug works by helping to relax the blood vessels in the penis, allowing blood to flow into the penis when sexually stimulated and helping men to get and maintain an erection.

The decision to change regulations of the drug follows an investigation by Sky News conducted earlier this month, which found “black market” erectile dysfunction pills now account for “90% of all captured counterfeit drugs”.

The report stated that unlicensed samples of pills “can contain toxic chemicals such as lead and arsenic”, making them potentially dangerous to consume.

Viagra Connect will be available over the counter to men over the age of 18 who will have to answer a few questions from a pharmacist.

The drug will not be sold to those with severe heart disorders; at high cardiovascular risk; liver failure; severe kidney failure; or taking certain interacting medicines.

Use of the drug in these groups of men must continue to be under the supervision of a doctor, due to potential health complications.

Mick Foy, MHRA’s group manager in vigilance and risk management of medicines, said: “This decision is good news for men’s health. The move to make Viagra Connect more widely accessible will encourage men to seek help within the healthcare system and increase awareness of erectile dysfunction.

“Erectile dysfunction can be a debilitating condition, so it’s important men feel they have fast access to quality and legitimate care, and do not feel they need to turn to counterfeit online supplies which could have potentially serious side effects.”

Martin

Source:: The Huffington Post – UK Entertainment

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